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MANILA-- The Philippines and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed a 500 million U.S. dollars loan to help the country's efforts to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that has taken a heavy toll on the poor, The Philippines' Department of Finance (DOF) said on Wednesday.
"The Philippines has accessed a fresh 500 million U.S. dollars financing package from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to help support the country's immediate budgetary requirements to address the coronavirus crisis with the signing of a loan agreement for the Expanded Social Assistance Project (ESAP)," the DOF said in a statement.
Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said that the budget-support loan will not only help bridge Philippines' funding gap for its COVID-19 response but will also strengthen its social protection program as it restarts economy and help people get back on their feet amid the pandemic.
The DOF said the ESAP, which builds on a decade of ADB's support for social protection programs in the Philippines, aims to assist the government in the continued implementation of its conditional cash transfer initiative dubbed the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
The 500 million U.S. dollars loan aims to continue funding education and health grants to eligible 4Ps household-beneficiaries for a period of four years starting 2020, the DOF added.
The ESAP loan, which covers a maturity period of 29 years inclusive of an eight-year grace period, brings to 2.6 billion U.S. dollars the total financing package extended by the ADB so far to the Philippines for its programs to address the COVID-19 crisis.